Why President Clinton and Bob Dole Are So Important

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A lady ranger named Candace Tinkler stood beside me and answered my questions:

Why is the flag at half staff?
"Oh, I don't know." I said I thought it might be because of Spiro Agnew, a historical vice president who quit before Richard Nixon did, whom they just made a movie about and who also died.

"Oh, that could be it," said Ranger Tinkler.
If it starts to rain, where will our president go?
"I think they'll move him under that porch."

If President Clinton turned around and yelled into the Grand Canyon, would it echo?

"No, not from here," Ranger Tinkler said.

Then a lot of the press people started running, so I joined them to see what was up. They grouped around someone who turned out to be Robert Redford, the good-looking Hollywood celebrity. I heard two ladies say, "Oh, he's so cute!" and one lady say, "Oh, he's so short!"

Robert Redford, who once was on The Twilight Zone, didn't have much to say because he was saving it up for the speech he would give later on. He let press people take his picture, and I yelled, "Hey, Robert," but he didn't look, and you can see in the picture I took that he is not looking.

After that, many other things happened, but they were not important, so I will skip them.

I will skip right to something that is important, the leader of our country, President Bill Clinton. They started playing "Hail to the Chief," and we all knew who was coming.

It was the president! And as an extra treat, the vice president, Al Gore, was right behind him. I would say that all there were excited, standing on their toes to try to see him, which his white hair and big pink face made easier for all of us. Al Gore was easy to see, too, because he is tall like the president and looks like Coach from gym last year.

Some people yelled, "Hey, Billy!" just like the president was their friend, and he smiled, acting like he really was everybody's friend. Plus, he didn't look old, even though his hair was white. Al Gore was the first to talk, and he told us about when he first came to the Grand Canyon in 1971 in his Chevy Impala, and that was cool. Then he introduced Bill Clinton, and we all clapped as our president waved the "hang loose" sign with his right hand and smiled.

I'll never forget one of the first things Bill Clinton said, because I wrote it down. Here it is:

"This is a sunny day. We ought to have a sunny day for a sunny day." Right then, I really liked the president because he was saying something that everyone could understand.

He told us a story of his first time at the Grand Canyon in 1971 (though it was not with Al Gore because they weren't friends yet), when he sat on a rock for two whole hours and watched the sun set, which he said was so beautiful he would never forget it. I'll bet a lot of people walked by him while he sat on that rock and didn't even think they were seeing their president of the future.

And if a ranger had said, "Hey, get off that rock and stay on the path," it would have been funny to see that ranger's face if he were here today and realized that he had told a guy who was going to be president to get off that rock.

President Clinton spoke about what a great thing this new national monument was going to be, and how it would mean a lot not just to us, but to our kids and their kids. I thought that maybe someday one of those kids would be able to sit on a rock at the new monument and watch the sunset, and remember it when he became president at some date in the future, just like President Bill Clinton. So you can see what a good thing this whole thing was.

Finally, Bill Clinton finished talking, and actually signed the bill at a little desk someone had put at the edge of the Grand Canyon. It would have been cool if he had picked up the desk and thrown it over the side when he was through and then done, like, an end-zone dance. Whoever is president owns the Grand Canyon, so I thought he could get away with it, but he didn't.

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Peter Gilstrap
Contact: Peter Gilstrap